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Russian Wrestling Official Warns U.S. Over Visa Rejection

The president of the Wrestling Federation of Russia, who was denied a visa to attend the world championships in Las Vegas this week, warned that the United States may be prohibited from hosting future championships.

"I believe that United World Wrestling is going to ban the United States from hosting any event of this level in future," Mikhail Mamiashvili, told the Russian TASS news agency on September 7.

Mamiashvili, a personal friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had planned to attend the world championships in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling in Las Vegas from September 7-12 as they are the main qualifying tournaments for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

His threat came as the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the United States of inserting politics into sports matters.

"We have serious concerns about the denial of entry" to the Olympic gold medalist, the ministry said. "We would like the U.S. authorities to recall that sport is beyond politics."

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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